First Hit: Basically a bunch a scenes, some with gun fights some without, thrown together with some semblance of sequence.
Johnny Depp is great to watch and this film is no exception. However there are fatal flaws in the execution of Public Enemies.
First; outside of an initial placing of the time, there is no time sequence or reference to the story. The scenes give no indication that this film takes place over a week, month, year or years. No one ages in this film so I’m thinking a couple of years or so, who knows.
Second, there is very little character building. Outside of a single reference to his past, Dillinger (played by Depp) hasn’t established why robbing banks are so important to him. The best character building is with Dillinger’s girlfriend Billie Frechette (played by Marion Cotillard). On more than one occasion Billie talks about her background and reason for her chosen life. Christian Bale, playing Melvin Purvis the FBI agent assigned to get Dillinger dead or alive, gave no reason why he basically walked through this film as a good looking wooden board (believe me he’s better than this).
Third, I didn’t sense or feel any chemistry between Cotillard and Depp. As a couple they were mostly lifeless and only Dillinger’s insistence on having a relationship was the basis for them being together. I didn't care about their relationship.
Michael Mann who directed and co-wrote this film needs to take full responsibility for its failings. He had great actors (there are some fabulous actors in this film, just look at the credits) and a compelling subject. Depp was, at times, really worth watching. Cotillard was also very good at times. Bale was non-existent and the best part of the film was Stephen Graham as Baby Face Nelson, total lunatic.
Overall: This was a long waste of time interrupted by moments of brilliance.